I hope that you just and yours are effectively It’s been a humid week right here within the north of France and strolling 4 canines within the rain is a problem – particularly when two of them are solely 15 weeks outdated and are little divas who wish to do their very own factor – Woman and Nina, that’s you. However we did have a dry Sunday, so I headed to a flea market in slightly village close by.
Flea markets are a lifestyle in France and nowhere greater than in my area Hauts de France which holds the 2 largest flea markets of the yr – Lille Braderie, the primary weekend of September (with as much as 10,000 stalls, sure actually), and Amiens Rederie (2000 stalls) on the primary Sunday of October.
However most flea markets are a lot smaller, starting from a handful of stalls to some hundred. You see all kinds of issues on the market – collections of used corks and beer bottle tops are widespread, (who buys these? And why?), historic farm instruments – very helpful right here within the farmyard of France, and I’ve by no means been to a flea market that didn’t have a Ricard jug, those everybody makes use of for placing water in to distil your pastis. The enjoyment of a flea market is that you just simply by no means know what’s going to flip up (aside from Ricard jugs). And apart from, what’s tat to 1 particular person could also be treasure to a different.
Take final week. I noticed a tapestry. It wasn’t an Aubusson or something like that – if solely! It was a home-made tapestry, and clearly somebody had spent numerous time needling the thread into photos of a pastoral scene with relatively haunted trying bushes round a discipline of mustard-coloured one thing and a person swinging what appears to be like like a baseball bat however might be a scythe. I stood it, questioning about the one that should have sat so patiently creating their masterpiece. Was it outdated? Pre-television? Did they sew by candlelight? My creativeness was piqued. As all the time occurs when somebody stares at one thing, a small crowd gathered.
A younger girl requested the stall holder how a lot the tapestry was. “20 euros” got here the reply. The younger girl “pffff’d” – French for an excessive amount of, and walked away, the gang disbursed. I requested the stall holder if she knew who created the tapestry. “Sure in fact, it was my grandmother, I believe it’s about 70 years outdated, she cherished to make these thread footage she known as them, we now have a great deal of them, that is the village of Embry of her reminiscences.”
Properly, who can resist a thread image of the village down the street to the place they dwell and the reminiscences of an outdated girl? Not me.
And that’s the factor with flea markets – they aren’t nearly discovering treasure, they’re additionally an perception into the tradition of France…
In the meantime, I’m packing my baggage to go exploring secret villages and castles in Alsace subsequent week! Include me by way of Instagram the place I’ll submit movies and pictures as I’m going…
Janine Marsh is Creator of My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream, My 4 Seasons in France: A Yr of the Good Life and Toujours la France: Residing the Dream in Rural France all accessible as e book, print & audio, on Amazon in all places & all good bookshops on-line. Her new guide Learn how to be French – a celebration of the French life-style, is out in October 2023 – a take a look at the French lifestyle.
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